Worklog Hot Apple Pi

fibbef

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Three years ago I came up with a design for a meme portable as part of a mini contest that Aurelio put on. It was enough to win me a GC+ (thanks and by the way, I swear I will put it to good use someday) and I told myself I would someday actually make the portable from my design.


The design was simple, although not terribly well thought out. Take the hard shell case that an iPhone 5C comes in, throw in a Pi, batteries, screen, and call it a portable. My original plan was to cut holes in the clear lid and somehow mount buttons to it while keeping the lid transparent.

Batteries? Like some AAs or a 9v. Seriously, it's a meme.



I didn't have a 3D printer in 2017, but I do now, which means I can put a little more thought into the innards now. I originally wanted to make a single printed piece that would hold all the components together, but I couldn't wrap my head around how to do that AND make it printable, so I opted for a multi print set up. One piece holds batteries, pi, and charging board; one piece holds buttons; final piece holds screen and keeps the buttons in place.



Initial test print. Not everything fits perfectly yet, but that's why it's a test. This design does not incorporate the clear lid that came with the case. Instead, I'm rounding out the top print (see 3D model) and having that nest inside the phone box. When all is said and done, the clear lid should still be able to fit over everything, providing protection when the portable isn't being played.

Also, decided to use a pair of 18650s that only lasted about 30 minutes when powering a trimmed N64.
 

fibbef

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The revised print turned out great. I added a support under the middle piece ("button holder") so that way it wouldn't squish down onto the battery holder. This was especially important because the legs on the buttons need some clearance.



Money shot. Far from complete, but wanted to see it with the lid in place.
 
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The revised print turned out great. I added a support under the middle piece ("button holder") so that way it wouldn't squish down onto the battery holder. This was especially important because the legs on the buttons need some clearance.



Money shot. Far from complete, but wanted to see it with the lid in place.
That's awesome.
 

fibbef

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3D printed button solution is pretty crude, but effective.

The plan was to install RetroPie, as that's the only RasPi gaming image I was familiar with before today. Discovered RecalBox and decided that's the way to go. I don't think I would really care one way or the other, but the plan is to wire up all buttons via GPIO and I remember RetroPie not being a lot of fun the last time I did that. RecalBox, on the other hand, pretty much supports it from the word go.

Still need to spend a bit of time getting the Pi set up with games while I'm printing the final pieces of the build, then it should just be a matter of piecing it all together, which will probably take much longer than it should, given my work ethic.
 

fibbef

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Since setting up the Pi and adding a crap ton of games, I hadn't tested it running off of a modified power solution, so that was my goal before attempting to piece everything together.

Here is my jank setup:


Oh Em Gee! Is he using a linear voltage regulator!?
Why yes I am. I'm not calling it the Hot Apple Pi for nothing. In all honesty, if this thing melts, I don't care.

Stripped the Pi of USB and ethernet ports so it will play nicely with the case I've designed for it. I actually removed the ports too early in the game, making the setup interesting to say the least, but that's another story.



The batteries are 18650s that came as a rechargeable pack for camcorders. The charger board (seen above) was designed to work off of microUSB or a barrel jack, which I have long since removed.

I've got wires dangling from all of the tact switches and are ready to be wired up to GPIO pins. If I was a more dedicated modder, this project would be completed by the end of the day. We'll be lucky if I have this done by September.
 

fibbef

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Slowly coming together. I got all of the tact switches wired up to GPIO, but the documentation for Recalbox has A and B flipped. It should be an easy fix, provided I don't break 5 other things in the process.

Decided to mount the regulator to a spare heatsink fin so the whole thing doesn't melt right away. I have a bunch of buttons to print out yet, but then it should be a matter of closing it up.
 

fibbef

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...and with that, I think I'm done. I've made no attempt to hide the wiring, as the iPhone case will keep everything nestled away. Also, this is a no-sound portable. Originally I had intended on throwing in a tiny cell phone speaker, but I couldn't find a suitable amp and as this is a what-I-have-lying-around project, I just decided to skip it.



This is one of those $5, 3.5" screens. The resolution is passable during gameplay, but reading the Recalbox menu is nearly impossible.
"Super Mario... All-Stars? Super Mario... 4-ish letters... must be Kart? Super Mario... looks like World. Must be World. Let's go with that one."



And here it is all buttoned up. Charging circuitry is all inside, so it can charge off of any 5V microUSB source.
 
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